This is something that I started last year, and I figured it’s a good way to rank my guilty pleasure songs of the year. Not that these songs won’t be appearing on my top songs list, but let’s just say that some definitely won’t.
It is hard to come up with a criteria for this, because what exactly does a radio hit mean? I tried to stick to songs that were mostly popular on Top 40 radio stations (I scoured the Billboard charts to see what was big and when), but I don’t really listen to top 40 radio, so that’s hard.
These songs were big on at least some radio station or some chart, there were hits in some sense of the word and are usually songs that despite all of your efforts against it, repeat in your head endlessly. Anytime these come on, like a gag reflex of sorts, I sing along.
My Top 10 Radio Hits of 2012:
10. Owl City and Carly Rae Jepsen “Good Time”-I thought I would like this song a bit more than I actually did, because, while Jepsen and Owl City are both equally sweet, as a duet they don’t really flow together that well. The song is good, but doesn’t quite meet the level that it could have. Honestly the best part is that Owl City’s vocals remind me so much of the lead singer of Mae and I wish that it was him singing it instead and that Mae was huge and awesome.
9. David Guetta with Sia “Titanium”-David Guetta is pretty held back for most of this song, which is really refreshing for him. He allows the song to slowly build behind Sia’s vocals before exploding into the chorus, where they pretty kill it (how can you not like the “…I am titanIUM” part?).
8. Justin Bieber “Boyfriend”-This song is both ridiculously cheesy and really well sung. Every part where Biebs is rapping is terrible, both lyrically and in execution. Bieber says swag way too often, which makes him come out looking like some high-schooler making a song for his You Tube channel (imagine that?). However the parts he does sing have been (rightly) called Timberlake-esque. They are really well done and perhaps when Biebs get older (or hires some better lyricists) he can get to that point too.
7. Maroon 5 “Payphone”-Maroon 5 is constantly making ear worms that come inside you and tortuously wreck your brain, last year’s “Moves Like Jagger” is the number 1 example of that (perhaps the worst song ever that you cannot simply get out of your brain). “Payphone” surprisingly seems thoughtful, it is more restrained and instead of torturing you, more pleasingly eats away at your brain cells. If Whiz Kalifa wasn’t in it, with that lame rap verse it might even be higher.
6. One Direction “What Makes You Beautiful”-I am actually surprised how much I like this song. It doesn’t really have the vocal style and content that I enjoy (even in a pop song). Whatever it is doing, it somehow worked it’s way to number 6 on my list, good job by you!
5. Mumford & Sons “I Will Wait”-Not sure how big this was on Top 40 radio, but it was on some radio so it counts right? With this one, Mumford created the perfect radio single for themselves, it is accessible, contains some of those passionate vocals, along with their now classic strumming pattern and banjo stylings. I think it might be there best song off of the new album, it is nothing groundbreaking, but perhaps they are best served for making impassioned folk songs accessible for everyone.
4. Gotye “Somebody That I Used to Know”-This song really came out of nowhere to becoming a big hit. How did people get into this? It is a slow song with an indie feel, that is actually kind of sad. It is extremely catchy, and you just know that I will be a sucker for a song combining all of those elements. It is you America that I am surprised at.
3. fun. “Some Nights”-This band’s other song, “We Are Young” was probably the bigger hit, but I didn’t find very much interesting or redeeming about that song, and believe me, I love fun. I have been following singer Nate Ruess’ work for the past 6 years, in his old project The Format, and in fun.’s debut album “Aim & Ignite” (which to be clear was my album of the year in 2009). The boy’s broke it big this year, which was shocking to me. This song throws together all the best parts of Nate’s work over the years. It has the depth and honesty that made me love The Format, it has the epic drama that fun.’s debut had, and combines the auto tune and production stylings that helped to get them big this year.
2. Taylor Swift “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together”-The first time I ever heard this song was on the radio and I swear that I was listening to something by Avril Lavigne from 10 years ago, and I mean that in the best way imaginable. Taylor Swift somehow managed to go from singing pop-country songs to making an acoustic pop anthem. Seriously, has anyone ever done this before?
1. Carly Rae Jepsen “Call Me Maybe”-Was there a better radio hit this year? Dare I ask if there was a better song this year? The inflections in her voice are irresistible, she is so charming, innocent, and lovely. This song sparked so many video covers and caused so many people to dance stupidly, but this hype did not turn me off to this song. I still love it every time I hear it.
Honorable mentions: “Drive-By” by Train, “Stronger” by Kelly Clarkson, “It’s Time” by Imagine Dragons”, “Hey Ho” by the Lumineers